23 Sep 2011

Sarasota County warns residents of internet scam

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has warned citizens about an internet security scam that has been reported in other areas of Florida, according to WINK-News.

The news source said the scam works when criminals contact people over the phone claiming to be from Microsoft. Scammers say they are giving free security checks to customers who may have downloaded malware or a virus. In most cases, the caller will ask the victim to follow detailed instructions on the computer while still on the phone.

Victims are instructed to install what WINK-News calls an "evil malware" application on their machine, which allows scammers to monitor and steal passwords, financial information and make the victim's computer part of a botnet, or collection of compromised computers. The scam has not yet been reported in Sarasota County, but sheriffs said they wanted to warn citizens of the potential danger of the scheme.

Microsoft's website said that if users get a virus, users should have an antivirus system scan and remove the threat. If programs are affected by the virus, they may need to be reinstalled manually by the user.